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Shirin Ebadi: I Will Return to Iran

Interview by Rooz Online

Ebadi standing next to a wall by her home in Tehran spray-painted with threats against her (January 2009). -- read the related report
Photo by Arash Ashoori Nia,

The winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize and president of the Iran based Center for Defenders of Human Rights discusses the pressure and intimidation tactics imposed on her family and colleagues by Iranian intelligence officers in the past few months in an interview with Rooz.  Shirin Ebadi, who was one of the attorneys in the chain murders case, says, "After reading the case files I realized that my death order had been issued by state authorities, and that if the murders had continued, I would have been next."  Mrs. Ebadi emphasizes in the interview that she will remain abroad until December to finish pending projects at the United Nations, but will then return to Tehran. Read on for the details.

Rooz: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's latest report refers to the intimidation of harassment of you and your family in Iran.  Are these harassments ongoing?  What is the status of your family right now?

Shirin Ebadi (Ebadi):  As Mr. Ban Ki Moon's report noted - which should have been presented at the United Nations General Assembly - the Islamic republic government unfortunately harassed and intimidated my family with its unlawful actions. Because they are against human rights defenders, they believe that their acts of harassments are excusable especially as their goal is to discourage the work that we do, but these acts are all against the law.

Rooz: Do you think they will continue their acts until they stop you?

Ebadi: Years ago, when I was involved in the chain murders case (the murder of dissidents by agents of the ministry of intelligence) representing the late Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar, I realized as I was reading the case that one of the murder suspects who was telling the prosecutor about his future plans, told him that the next person on the list to be killed was Shirin Ebadi.  They had reported that to the intelligence minister and he had approved the plan to assassinate me, but they suggested to resume the killings after the month of Ramadan.  During that time, however, on Khatami's insistence, the suspects were arrested and luckily I survived in a miraculous manner.  Therefore the intelligence ministry's relationship with me is completely clear.  Ever since, I have been constantly threatened to death. But this is now affecting my relatives so much so that an intelligence officer allows himself to ask my sister to change her residence so as not to be close to me in order not to be fired from her job.

Rooz: What do you think these pressures are for?   Are they meant to discourage you from returning to Iran?

Ebadi: Intelligence ministry officers and everyone else knows that I will do whatever is appropriate and no one can stop me from returning to Iran.  I will be where I can be effective.  Until the holding of the United Nations General Assembly in December I have tasks at the United Nations that I must complete.  After that, I will return to Iran.  According to current Iranian law, no official is allowed to bar citizens from entering their country.

... Payvand News - 10/24/09 ... --

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